PCS's “Dying for Sick Pay” campaign, demanding full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, is continuing. We’ve been applying political pressure, and have written to the government demanding that the right of all workers, regardless of contractual status, to full sick pay is written into agreements across the civil service on a permanent basis. MPs who work with the union have also raised this issue in Parliament.
Crucially we’re also contacting every outsourced worker member to discuss the campaign with them and encourage them to get active in the union.
Our reps working in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) job centres have decided to suspend a plan to ballot around 800 members across several workplaces in Scotland, the north east, and the north west, after DWP bosses made further concessions over face-to-face working and workplace safety.
The DWP has agreed to strengthen workplace safety provision, and tightened up an agreement giving the individual worker control over whether claimants are seen face to face. That’s an important step, as it means no worker can be directly compelled to see a claimant in person.
The reps felt these concessions were sufficient to hold off on balloting for now, whilst negotiations continued. The suspension will also allow consultation with members on the further concessions achieved. The union intends to give DWP only a few days to make further progress. If this is not achieved then it is intended to ballot so as to allow action in early December.
The union is demanding the employers provide face masks for any worker working in the office rather than from home, for use in communal areas and where they are in close proximity to work mates.
Some civil service departments in some parts of the country, such as HMRC in Scotland, have agreed to this, but others, such as the DWP have refused.
• John Moloney is the Assistant General Secretary for the PCS union, writing here in a personal capacity